In Everyman, a didactic medieval morality play, the protagonist, Everyman, a name used as an allegory to represent the common member or society, is being pulled in conflicting directions by two desires, one his desire for worldly possessions, and the other his desire for salvation. It is this conflict that helps to illuminate the meaning of the work: teaching the means of society according to the tenets of the Medieval Church. .
Having indulged in worldly goods for most of his life, Everyman disregards his desire for salvation until he is faced suddenly by Death, who has been sent by God as a result of his displeasure with the society's greediness. Everyman must prepare his book of reckoning, however, Everyman's pursuit of pleasure through wealth and material possessions has positioned him in a state of serious sin. Knowing that he will soon face judgment, Everyman tries to find someone to go with him to death, which begins his first set of rejections. He is rejected by Fellowship, a fair weather friend, his Kindred and Cousin, who are both detrimental to Everyman's salvation, and finally by Goods, as he is the reason for Everyman's journey to death. It is at this point that Everyman realizes he has loved Goods with the devotion he should have given to God. He recognizes the fact that he should have done more good deeds and given more to the poor. It is this epiphany which first stresses the meaning of the work. In order to achieve salvation according to the Medieval Church one must perform acts of charity. The conflict between Everyman's wishes to achieve both material and spiritual pleasures causes him to be shunned by both the audience and the Church for not performing such acts of charity, and his greed for goods. .
After his first epiphany, Everyman is even more determined to follow the path towards salvation. He turns to Good Deeds, who, is unfortunately weighted down with the immensity of his sins, and is unable to stand and help him.